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Opinion Politics

They signed all these climate agreements, and all we got was a new world record for burning coal

This year, in spite of so many nations and large states swearing off fossil fuels, in spite of so many treaties and so many climate agreements, the world will consume more coal than it ever has in its history. According to the International Energy Agency, the world will burn more than 8 billion tons of coal in 2022 for the first time in human history. A major reason for coal’s resurgence is the constricted supply and high price of natural gas, thanks to the war in Ukraine.

Natural gas emits only half as much carbon dioxide per unit of energy as coal does. This is why fracking was able to reduce U.S. energy sector carbon emissions by more than 23% between 2005 and 2020.

All of these facts together form a very important piece of context for all of the climate activism and the climate agreements and treaties: It has all been in vain.

Source: Climate.gov

The concentration of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere has been rising at a more or less constant rate at least since the 1960s. As the graph above shows, neither the Kyoto treaty nor any of a dozen or more subsequent global warming treaties or agreements has done even the slightest thing to slow it down. So whatever sacrifices Westerners think they are making to save the planet are evidently being counterbalanced (and then some) by bad actors on the world stage. That includes not only Russia with its war but also China, which is building new coal-fired power plants like crazy and only barely pretends to keep the climate commitments it has made.

If we assume that all of the most alarmist premises of environmentalists are anywhere close to being true, then there is a very limited set of things that can decarbonize the world quickly enough to save humanity from oblivion. The only one immediately attainable with today’s technology is the widespread adoption of nuclear power. Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to make money on a clean energy investment.

The next best bet would be to pour more money into the study of nuclear fusion, which does seem a lot closer to reality today than it was even a year ago.

On the other hand, if the alarmist premises aren’t true, the far more likely scenario, then those options are still the only ones worth considering. They don’t require the lowering of human living standards that the environmental movement seems to want even more than it wants to save the climate.

Continue Reading at The Washington Examiner.

Washington Examiner

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